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Chamber Chat with Rebecca Patience and Grace McGarvey

Harrison Drury

The benefits of nesting when co-parenting a child

Rebecca Patience, senior associate solicitor, and Grace McGarvey, apprentice solicitor, Harrison Drury

For parties with children who have separated, the question may arise as to how best to co-parent. A separation is a significant event in a child’s life and many wish to make the transition to co-parenting as smooth as possible.

What is nesting?

A nesting arrangement is when parents ‘take turns’ in occupying the family home to care for the children.

What are the benefits?

Nesting can alleviate some uncertainty that children may experience when parents first separate.

It ensures that both parents have an opportunity to spend time with the children in a familiar environment.  It may assist children in understanding what is happening and make the transition of their parents separating a more gradual process.

Are there any potential downsides?

The arrangement requires cooperation between the parents. After a recent separation, this may be difficult.

As both parents would be spending time at the family home, there may be blurred lines as to what the other parent believes is acceptable.

For parents who have separated and there is contention, there is a risk that contact and sharing a property could give rise to confrontation.

What are the legal considerations and implications? 

A nesting arrangement does not necessarily require any solicitor involvement. However, there are other matters that parties may need to consider, including financial arrangements following separation and the long-term arrangements for the children. Parents can draw up a parenting plan, or a formal child arrangements order may be approved by the court.

To ensure success, it is important that parents consider all matters and agree the terms of the nesting arrangements from the outset.

Before commencing a nesting arrangement, parents should consider their circumstances, communicate, and seek legal guidance to ensure that the arrangement aligns with their long-term goals.